May 28, 2024

The Plastiki Launch: Art on a Global Scale by Carla Rover

Art, by definition, questions the consciousness. What do we see? What are we “meant” to see? It likewise demands judgment, are we indeed moved by the object or left untouched. The Plastiki, a 12-ton, 60ft boat made almost entirely out of discarded objects (12,500 recycled plastic bottles), is a statement piece, an act, aside from its theoretics of daring.
In preparation for the Plastiki launch, the sea-faring vessel was built in an ad hoc gallery of sorts, pieced together in front of visitors. Presently, the Plastiki is heading to Australia from her launch in San Francisco. Stripped of spin and political ethos, the Plastiki is an artistic rendering of a lost vein of creation adventure. The boat itself is a futurist-inspired fusion of high art and primitive technology, a working structure of found objects that continues to travel seamlessly as the crew hit the mid-point of their journey. The madness of the voyage is its poetry and its brilliance. Similar to Picasso’s stunning first works; it is childlike in its simplicity, yet awash in meaning, both subliminal and overt.We humans risk so little of our comfort in this age to interact, to exist, or to create. In order to become an artist, to perform or to commit to a tangible media, one risks judgment, failure of expression, and a doubtful or absent audience. Art once launched in the public view
is subject to the mortality of the work itself.Will it be remembered or even acknowledged in its day?
The art of the Plastiki is its untenable lunge in the face of sanity, safety and a reasonable comfort. Like Jean Dubuffet’s Art Brut, it is a torrent of symbols, protests and unconscionable contradictions, and in that, it is its indefinable, irreverent and near laughable bravado that makes it beautiful in its folly and its cost.
Charlotte Bufton, spokesperson, and the Plastiki crew said via a joint written statement that “Art has always been at the forefront of predicting and highlighting change as it is a representation of society’s outlook and opinion. My belief is that environmental awareness is becoming a large and important part of culture and thus transpires through many channels, including art.We are privileged to have an inspiring crew and team behind the Plastiki who endeavor to spread this message far and wide as it is an honest cause that needs to be highlighted.”
The premise is a welcome respite from the addictive mediocrity of the day. Film, televison and music somehow feel so uninspired. Risk, true risk is a rare, beautiful thing. Unscripted, distanced from the wealth of ready labels and interpretive dances of publicists, the Plastiki is an honest piece of work. It vociferously negates the possibility of ambivalence. Art is inextricably linked to daring. The power of statement is in essence the human spirit’s inalienable right to assert itself; to force its own recognition by creating something which has not before existed.

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